A seasoned sports journalist who has covered New York sports for the past 20 years, Rich takes you inside the locker room of your favorite team.
Rich has been on the scene for watershed NY sports moments including the legendary Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the 2000 Subway Series, and the 1994 Stanley Cup run of the New York Rangers. He has access to the top NY sports athletes and will be posting exclusive one-on-one interviews with stars like David Wright, Derek Jeter, Carmelo Anthony, RA Dickey, and Johan Santana.
Rich’s resume includes stops at ABC Radio, ESPN Radio, AP Radio, SiriusXM, and WFAN.
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I am a lifelong New Yorker and covered sports in this town for over 20 years and I know how things work in The Big Apple. If the sports media wants to “get you” they will always have the last word unless, of course, you win a championship. They will run you out of town. I was a first-hand witness to how unfairly the media pictured Omar Minaya and I am starting to see the same treatment of Rex Ryan.
The Met fan has felt beat up the past few years and rightfully so. The record on the field has not been where it should be and the future was cloudy. I stress the word was because I firmly believe this team is on the rise. Are there unresolved problems? Absolutely---but Sandy has the ship steering in the right direction and in 12 to 24 months I think Met fans will be happy campers.
The RA Dickey story is a compelling one, a journey that touched the heart of every Mets fan.
His contribution to this team should not be minimized in any way. But Sandy Alderson did the right thing, dealing him for blue-chip prospects, even though Monday's trade with the Blue Jays was viewed as the incorrect move in some circles.
In talking to baseball scouts and team executives, many were amazed the Mets were able to get not only Travis d'Arnaud, who is generally regarded as the top catching prospect in the sport, but Toronto's top pitching prospect as well.
The Twitter universe has been debating the RA Dickey case for weeks now and the question remains the same: Would the Mets be better off trading the Cy Young Award winner or would keeping him make the team stronger? And the answer remains constant: That all depends.
When the news broke this morning courtesy of Ed Coleman that David Wright had agreed to a contract extension, Met fans in the tri-star area rejoiced and rightfully so. I have known David Wright for almost 10 years and I can safely say he embodies what a New York Met should be. He is a talented player who understands that talent without hard work yields no results. He also knows that New York is a tough town that will both be critical and loyal at the same time and David Wright embraces that.
The evolution of these negotiations was fascinating to me and it played out on Twitter all week long with Met fans weighing in on the pros and cons of signing Wright to this extension. To me, the issue was always a simple one: This is a home-grown player who deserved to be paid well for what he has done and what he will ultimately provide. I have always said that one day David Wright's uniform # will forever reside on CitiField's left field wall mostly because of his numbers but also because of what he means to Met fans.
I have heard Met fans lament about their team because they simply repeat what the media keeps saying about the Mets but I am here to tell you Sandy Alderson has a plan and a year or 2 from now, Met fans will be pleased with what they see. But the first step to making this team a contender is making sure David Wright and RA Dickey are both part of the solution.
And I honestly think that will happen. Simply put, David Wright is the face of this franchise and his #5 will be sitting next to the other retired numbers on the CitiField outfield wall one day but more importantly, he's a bona-fide run producer and you do not find that on every street corner especially at the third base position.
When news surfaced yesterday that the Miami Marlins were unloading most of their team to the Toronto Blue Jays in yet another salary dump I thought of the scene in the movie Wall Street when the Charlie Sheen character said to Gordon Gecco, "I just heard about the fire sale at Blue Star. I thought you were going to turn the company around, not upside down." Gecco's response, "It's all about the bucks--the rest is just conversation."
Enter Jeffrey Loria who insisted that his new stadium would set the scene for the "New Marlins." He even changed the team logo and then went out and signed every free agent who would agree to a "no-trade clause" for insane money. The city of Miami went along with it not only giving him a new stadium but also giving him all kinds of secondary benefits like the parking concessions for instance around the new stadium.
One thing is crystal clear from my conversations with Sandy Alderson and that is he intends to make changes this off-season as the evaluation process with this team has concluded. He will continue to reinforce his minor league system and we saw the start of that with the advent of the "Matt Harvey Era" last season. There are others on the way but the intention is to improve the team this off-season with more power in the lineup and more power arms in the bullpen. The free-agent class is not deep this year so he will have to be creative but all eyes will be on a general manager who enters his first off-season in the post-Madoff era.
One thing we should have all learned this season is that building a baseball team is not about throwing millions of dollars at a problem. It certainly did not work for the Miami Marlins. And while the Los Angeles Dodgers and Anaheim Angels have spent the last 12 months spending money like a teenager who just got dad's credit card, it should be noted that the subtle moves made the difference in places like San Francisco where Marco Scutaro became the bargain of the trading deadline.